TOP PICK – BOOK
David Bowie: Starman
(Little, Brown and Company)
There are plenty of Bowie bios out there, but this deep read by Paul Trynka is one of the best. The former Mojo editor interviews hundreds of people who helped shape Bowie's career over the past 40-plus years, including key collaborators and ex-boyfriends (yep). Best of all, Starman digs to the heart of Bowie's work, charting the origins of some of his best songs.
CSS: La Liberación
The third album by these Brazilian indie rockers once again crosses genre lines for a wild ride through noisy pop and sweaty synth-rock. The best song here is “Hits Me Like a Rock,” featuring Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie, but there's a whole lot to get into. La Liberación is more song-oriented than past records, but the sharper tunes and straighter edges still slip into overdrive.
DJ Khaled: We the Best Forever
(Cash Money/Universal Republic)
Khaled is one of hip-hop's best hosts, a guy who drops in from time to time to make sure everyone's having fun and then just kinda disappears for a while. His fifth album is loaded with rap royalty: Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Rick Ross, and tons of others show up. Khaled is in there too, somewhere, raising a glass. The album's opening cut, “I'm on One” featuring Drake, is the strongest.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Two new solo titles from the cult TV show return to home video: Red Zone Cuba and The Unearthly. The first is a 1966 stinker about cons who take on Commies; the latter is a suck-ass 1957 movie about a mad scientist making mutants. Both include awful instructional shorts from the '50s. At least the robots have a good time with everything onscreen, especially hulking Unearthly star Tor Johnson.
This trio of veteran underground rappers comes together for a record that sounds like it's at least 15 years old. They rhyme about stuff that mattered to them back in the day (herb) and not-so-much now (Twitter, Facebook). They let their geek flag fly throughout, culminating in a song called “Chewbacca,” named after everyone's favorite Wookiee, but not nearly as hairy.